West Edge Opera and Earplay team up again this weekend for another edition of Snapshot, their showcase for short brand-new operas. The selections this time have a wide range of topics and settings: a woman caught up in baby trafficking in Guatemala; a Latino serviceman dancing rumbas with friends in Oakland before shipping off to the Korean War; an homage to a musician and poet from the Han Dynasty who was forced to give up her children; and a surreal story narrated by the moon.
There’s more information at the West Edge Opera website.
The work called Moon, Bride, Dogs was written when librettist Cristina Fríes and composer Ryan Suleiman were teamed in an inter-departmental collaboration when they were studying at UC Davis. “A woman… appears in this sort of wasteland that’s occupied by these hungry dogs,” Fríes says,”And the moon is narrating, and the woman who’s appeared here, she’s lost all her memories in her escape from leaving her abusive father. The dogs are here, and they’re hungry, and they want her for their own purposes, for stories, for food, for some sort of knowledge and nourishment.” This version of the work has a soprano singing the role of the woman, a tenor singing the moon, and a baritone singing the dogs. Ryan Suleiman says although he had never written anything operatic before, he was drawn in by the story. “The first thing that attracted me about the text was the surreal elements in it, but this compelling narrative and story too, that was very mysterious. As this woman running away is trying to search and find her memories. There are just so many beautiful and strange dramatic elements to it.” And that’s what also made it stand out to General director of West Edge Opera, Mark Streshinsky and creator of the Snapshot series, Brian M. Rosen. “When we started this four years ago,” Streshinsky explains, “one of our main mandates for what pieces we would pick would be, of course, excellence of the composition, but we also wanted to pick pieces that we thought the audience would be enthusiastic about. We love things that are a bit surreal, we’ve found that those are often the most popular with our audience, and Moon, Bride, Dogs definitely is that.”